What Choice Have I Got?

January 6, 2018

Photo Copyright William R. Cares

 

 

This will not be a post for the faint of heart. Let me be clear about that from the beginning.

 

I have been meditating on the idea of rejection. What it did to me, what it does to those of us creative people who put our work out into the world and say "Look at this, read this, hear this."

 

As an artist and writer I have had my fair share of rejection. I don't want to whine, but it happens, live long enough, persist long enough in the Arts and it will bite you, sometimes very hard.

 

Recently, I had a close brush with success on my (14 years of labor) Fantasy, but in the end... I was rejected. This seemed in retrospect to be almost foreordained. Nobody special writes first novel by the seat of his pants. Puts crazy amounts of time, love, and vital life energy into it - has an agent actually read the whole thing, offer representation, then nothing.

 

No word.

 

 

Waiting.........................................................................................................................and

 

 

waiting..........................................................................................................................................and

 

 

waiting.................................................................................................................................................

 

 

 

 

....................................for....................................................................................................................

 

.............................................................................................................................................................

 

.............................................................................................................................................................

 

.............................................................................................................................................................

 

.............................................................................................................................................................

 

......six months. Then suddenly!

 

 

 

 

REJECTION

 

 

I want to dig into what I have decided about the idea itself. 

 

Rejection is a construct, and like all the structures of our thinking, it is made up. This is not to say that it doesn't hurt. Like any construct, take race, for example, it can rule our choices, cause great suffering and make us doubt ourselves to the point that we shrink from the world and from others. Pain hurts and we flinch away from it. This is simply human nature. But, I am told through the tropes of our cultural conversations on creativity that "we need to feel pain in order to create." Do we? Who says so?

 

Below are some good quotes to illustrate this notion. They come from here: 

http://www.christopherhallart.com/blog/2014/12/15/quotes-on-art-and-suffering

 

What is the ‘raison d’etre; what is the explanation of the seemingly insane drive of man to be a painter and poet if it is not an act of defiance against man’s fall and an assertion that he return to the Adam of the Garden of Eden.  Barnett Newman

 

Make a child a painting and he’ll be happy for a day.  Teach a child to paint and he’ll be miserable for a lifetime.  Christopher Willard

 

I paint in order not to cry.  Paul Klee

 

If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago.  Yayoi Kusama

 

All great art comes from a sense of outrage.  Glenn Close

 

Painting is a source of endless pleasure, but also of great anguish.  Balthus

 

For me, painting is a way to forget life.  It is a cry in the night, a strangled laugh.  George Rouault

 

You never paint what you see or think you see.  You paint with a thousand vibrations the blow that has struck you:  how can you be struck and not cry out in anger?  Nicholas de Stael

 

Sometimes I find myself making love to my own misfortune.  Norma O. Abrego

 

One swallows something, is poisoned by it and eliminates the toxic.  A painter paints to unload himself of feelings and visions. Pablo Picasso 

 

For the creator himself to be the child new-born he must be willing to be the mother and endure the mother's pain.  Friedrich Nietzsche

 

 

Artists of any type will encounter pain (simply living causes suffering, so the Buddhists say), but it is what we do with that pain that is the test of our humanity, our character, and our art. As my father would say: "What choice have you got?"

 

We go forward because we are alive and we have time and we are not done doing, not by a long shot. It is not time to surrender, maybe for a while, maybe a half year of wallowing, but not for good. We have too much pride, or pain, or, perhaps hope?

 

"These are dark times, there is no denying", says the Minister of magic in the opening of the film Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. No shit, Sherlock. We are living a kind of dystopian tragedy right now.

 

But, and this is "important"

 

IT IS TRULY A WONDER THAT MORE PEOPLE DON'T JUST GIVE UP AND SHUFFLE OFF THIS MORTAL COIL,

(OR DO AS I MIGHT DO, AND SIMPLY QUIT CREATING THEIR ART).

 

What keeps them going?

 

 

The alternative........

 

 

DEATH.

 

(Yeah, sorry about that, forgot to mention that.)

 

 

*SPOILER ALERT*

 

They all die in the end!

We all will.

 

It's what keeps me working.

 

I think about real problems in the world, to which I have no answers by the way, and I just turn back to my art (actually my Arts, cause you know I dabble in three of them?).

 

ANYWAY........I Reject rejection! 

 

did you hear that world......

 

I Reject rejection! 

 

 

because, really,

 

 

What Choice Have I Got?

 

 

 

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